Why Industrial Furniture Wholesale Prices May Not Be The Best Deal

Jun 29, 2020 5:28:10 PM / by Albert Cappello

You think you’ve snagged a great deal.

Wholesale prices are a win for the budget, especially for a company looking to make a significant investment in purchasing industrial furniture for its manufacturing or laboratory space. 

However, if a manufacturer is offering you industrial furniture wholesale prices, you should beware that this deal may seem too good to be true.

Here’s why.


Who Gets Wholesale Prices?


Industrial Furniture WholesaleWho receives wholesale prices is one of the most important points to remember when examining whether you’re getting a good deal. 

Typically, a manufacturer will not sell industrial furniture at wholesale prices to an end user, such as an individual company. Manufacturers usually only sell their goods at wholesale prices to a distributor. That distributor then sells these products to individual clients or customers. 

Industrial furniture manufacturers often don’t have the large number of employees it would take to deliver and service an entire country, especially one as large as the United States. So, they count on distributors to help them sell, install and service the product.

Because of this, quality manufacturers won’t risk hurting their relationships with their distributors by undercutting them and offering the same discounts to end users. 

If an end user is being offered wholesale prices for goods, that is a red flag. 


Why A Red Flag?


The first question you should ask yourself is, “Why is the manufacturing dumping furniture at a wholesale price?” 

You rarely find quality industrial furniture manufacturers who will do this unless there is inventory they are trying to get rid of. One example of this may be that a manufacturer is phasing out a product line and is attempting to make room in its warehouse for newer, more updated models. 

However, it may also mean that there is a problem with their product and/or their distribution network.

Whichever scenario it is, most of the time, promoting “wholesale prices” is simply a sales tactic to unload products that they need to get rid of.


What Are the Risks?


Industrial furniture wholesale riskThe saying, “You get what you pay for,” is something that should be kept in mind when purchasing industrial furniture from a manufacturer advertising wholesale prices. Here are a few risks you may run into.

Difficulty Getting Spare Parts

If the manufacturer is phasing out a product line, you may have difficulty getting spare parts if something breaks or doesn’t work right.

Discounted prices now won’t make up for problems later, so make sure you find out if the product you are buying is being phased out.

Future Service And Warranty Issues

If the manufacturer is undercutting their distributors, you may have trouble getting your furniture serviced when you need it. This is especially true if there is a warranty issue, because distributors often are the interface between you and the manufacturer.

So, if a manufacturer is attempting to get rid of furniture that is no longer in production or is of inferior quality, you will want to pay close attention to any warranties and whether the product still meets safety standards.

Double check any warranty information that accompanies the furniture so you know upfront what is covered and for how long.

The Need For A Quick Replacement

When a product is of inferior quality, it typically doesn’t stand the test of time and will need to be replaced fairly quickly.

In fact, when inexpensive furniture is purchased, more often than not additional funds are needed to repair, replace or renovate the original purchase. Considering industrial furniture like lab benches, workstations and fume hoods can be significant investments, the last thing you want to do is continue spending money on the product after the fact.

Safety Assurances

Not all products are created equal. If you’re purchasing a piece of industrial furniture at wholesale price, it’s especially important that you verify it is rated for safety.

If the furniture you are purchasing has electrical components, in particular, make sure they are UL Listed. In North America, UL is the Gold Standard. UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions. 

For manufacturers that are UL certified, they agree to a specific set of guidelines and monitoring. In order for a manufacturer to apply the UL Listing to its products, that company must agree to rigorous examination, testing and follow-up surveillance of its manufacturing process and procedures. 


What Should I Look For Beyond Cost?


Cost is just one component of a piece of furniture’s true price. If industrial furniture is not constructed with the highest quality, the cost you pay initially could end up costing you more in the long run.

While wholesale prices may be attractive, there are many more things you should look for when working with an industrial furniture manufacturer, such as:

  • Manufacturing lead time, which can impact the completion time of your project
  • Customer service, which can provide personalized service to ensure the design of the furniture meets the needs of your workspace
  • Shipping times, as well as where the product is being shipped from, which can increase the risk of damage during the shipping process
  • Customization opportunities, which likely aren’t available at wholesale prices

It’s also important to remember that a wholesale price may not be the real price you will pay for industrial furniture. In addition to long-term costs that we discussed above, you may be hit with higher additional charges from:

  • Shipping and handling, especially if the product is coming from overseas
  • Maintenance costs for replacement parts and lost work hours due to the poor quality of the product
  • Flexibility issues with the product, which may cause a costly upgrade in the future as the needs of your manufacturing or laboratory space change

The least expensive product may satisfy your budget requirements, but this low-cost solution may leave you in a bind down the road, either because you can’t use the product for your application or the product has reached the end of its life sooner than expected because of poor quality. 

Purchasing high-quality industrial furniture is a smart, long-term solution and involves working with a manufacturer who won’t try to make a quick buck at the expense of your business. 

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Albert Cappello

Written by Albert Cappello

Albert Cappello is the CEO of Workstation Industries, Inc. WSI is a manufacturer of Industrial, Technical and Laboratory Furniture based in Southern California.

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